As we previously reported, the 27th of February is an international day of of public and online action in solidarity with the people of Kenya and to call on the Kenyan government to protect people from politically-motivated and ethnic violence.
Amnesty International is organizing streets demonstrations in the following locations on 27 February. Turn up and show your support...
Kampala, Uganda, 12:30 pm, Kololo Airstrip, corner of Wampewo Rd and Upper Kololo Terrace. A joint action with Amnesty International and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.
Washington DC, USA, 4:30-6:30pm, 27 February, - outside the Kenyan Embassy, 2249 R. Street N.W in Dupont Circle
Denver, Colorado, USA, (the sister city of Nairobi, Kenya), 6pm, 27 February, West Steps of the Capitol - Candlelight Vigil for the People of Kenya: Support Human Rights and Peace Now! [Please Bring a Flashlight or Lighter]
Los Angeles, USA, 4:30 pm, 27 February, Vigil at the Kenyan Consulate, Park Mile Plaza, Mezzanine Floor, 4801 Wilshire Boulevard
Montevideo, Uruguay, 27 February, 6.30 pm, Rambla Rep. Argentina
Mexico City, Mexico, 27 February, 18.00 - 21.00, outside Mexico City Cultural Centre [a vigil, 3 African bands and a slideshow of photos from Kenya]
Ottawa, Canada, 27 February, 4.00pm, High Commission of the Republic of Kenya, 415 Laurier Avenue East - intersection of King Edward and Laurier
Melbourne, Australia, 6pm, Parliament House steps, East Melbourne, join us for a vigil with our message calling to: PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF KENYA
Canberra, Australia, 1pm, in front of the Kenyan Embassy, QBE Building, 33-35 Ainslie St, Civic Square. We will be writing letters to the Kenyan government in solidarity with the Kenyan people to bring an end to the violence.
Brisbane, Australia, 4pm, Reddacliffe Place, George St, Brisbane, join us for a vigil to reach out to Kenya, and have a look at our giant hand!
London, UK, 17:00 to 19:00 pm, outside the Kenyan Embassy, 45 Portland Place, W1B 1AS
Belfast, UK, 28 February, 6:30pm, Club Rooms 3 and 4, Queens University Belfast Student Union, University Road
Berlin, Germany, 27 February, 17.30 -19.30, Kenyan Embassy, MARKGRAFENSTR.63
Many articles in the Kenyan “blogosphere” (see chart below), local and international media have been written about the post-election crisis. The numbers reach into their thousands. This article tries to give an overview about good articles with background information on Kenya and the current political crisis. It is just a selection and we are sure that we may have missed many good ones. It is just the beginning and we will try to keep it updated, so if you see any good ones that would fit into this page, please use the comment function to add them.
(Topics in alphabetical order)
The Draft Constitution of Kenya, known as the Boma’s draft, was adopted by the National Constitutional Conference on 15th of march 2004.
“The potential impact of economic sanctions on the Kenyan government” takes a closer look at the Kenyan economy and delivers useful statistics and numbers.
“Eyes on the World Bank and Kibaki’s economy” takes a closer look at the economic program of Kibaki’s government and at the World Bank’s interest in Kenya.
Antony Otieno Ong’ayo, a researcher at the Transnational Institute, Amsterdam, gives “An overview of the underlying factors” of “The Post-election Violence in Kenya” at Pambazuka News. It is detailed and gives a great historic overview as well .
“Unearthing of the sources of tribal disagreements and ethno-politics in Kenya” takes a closer look at the historic background of tribalism in Kenya.
The US biased NGO Human Rights Watch published a report about the involvement of opposition politicians in the preparation of the Rift valley violence. “Kenya: Opposition Officials Helped Plan Rift Valley Violence” was published on January 24th 2008.
The article “The effect of the Kenyan crisis on Kenya’s health system” tries to summarize the struggles to keep up the Kenyan health system in this time of crisis. It also refers to an article by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs IRIN “KENYA: Healthcare threatened by political crisis”
International Medical Corps addresses the issue “Risk of Long-Term Food Insecurity and Malnutrition” in Kenya.
The Africa Policy Institute published a report by Horace Njuguna Gisemba named “The Lie of the land: Evictions and Kenya’s crisis”. It takes a closer look at the history of land distribution and ownership in the Rift valley and disputes the often heard argument of “land distribution” as the underlying cause for the killings. It is controversally discussed at the Kenya imagine.
Humanitarian news and analysis (IRIN) also writes about “Spreading the word of hate” .
John Barbieri, an independent reporter and the founder of the US Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice in Kenya writes about the “The poverty of international journalism”.
Simiyu Barasa, a member of the Coalition of Concerned Kenyan Writers, wrote an essay on “War journalism: Kenya’s newest tourist attraction” on the kwani blog. Barasa picks up the concept of “peace journalism” by the Norwegian Scholar John Galtun and shows how the local media tries to use their influence to promote peace and fails due to an international “war journalism”. He gives examples how cameras create stories and that media attention is only drawn by violence. This is done by the very same media cooperation which thought it was their responsibility not to show any cruel pictures after 9/11 and during the Iraq war.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) strongly condemned the violation of press freedoms and intimidation of journalists on January 19t.
The Mukoma Wa Ngugi analysis on the differences within the Orange Democratic Movement and the different political approaches by its leaders. “Understanding the Kenyan Opposition” brings to light the differences between the activist-intellectual left, the Moi-ist retrogressives, and the populists within the party.
“Eyes on Kenyan Political Parties: A call for change” looks at the historic background of Kenya’s Parties and the lack of their political profiles.
In the publication “Political Succession in East Africa – In Search for a Limited Leadership” by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Dr. Katumanga Musambayi wrote the chapter: “After the floods – The Rainbow: Contextualising NARC’s election victory – Lessons learnt and the challenges ahead”. It was published in 2006 and gives an overview about the prior election in 2002.
Despite the fact that the different religious communities play an important role in Kenya's society, we have not found any deeper analysis on the role of the churches to promote peace and their role in finding a conflict solution.
United States of America
Here we are still looking for a good article, that analyses the change in the US policies towards the Kibaki government.
Our early analysis on the “The role of the US Department of State in the aftermath of Kenyan Election” sees a change in US policies as the results of a learning process due to the mistakes made in the 2005 Ethiopian election.
Patrick Mutahi asks the Question”What is America's stake in this?” and explains their interest according to their “war on terror” policies.
The “Women’s Memorandum to the Mediation Team” was published on Pambazuka News. It was written by the “Kenyan Women's Consultation Group on the Current Crisis in Kenya” a group of women from various backgrounds who met to discuss a solution to the crisis. Among other important points it stresses the importance of women participation in the finding of conflict solutions adhereing to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
"Violence and women in Kenya" portraits the Kenyans Prof. Wangari Maathai, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi and Gladwell Otieno and takes a closer look at violence against female candidates in the pre-election period.
Again: If you know other background articles on the current situation in Kenya, please use the comment function or the "Contact Page" to add them. If you leave a comment you have the option to be notified for any further comments.
There has been a lot of speculation how much the Kibaki government can be influenced by economic or aid sanctions.
Reuters Facts Box reports :
An EU official said on Monday the 27-nation bloc, one of Kenya’s top donors, was considering suspending all aid and imposing sanctions if mediation efforts to resolve the crisis failed. The EU provided 290 million Euro ($430 million) in aid to Kenya between 2002 and 2007. A further 383 million Euro are planned for 2008-2013. A big percentage of this goes to direct budgetary aid.
USAID is supporting more than $300 million in development activities in Kenya, including education, health, economic growth, democracy and governance, and peace and security programs.
In June 2007 the World Bank approved a credit of $80 million for Kenya to expand the fight against HIV/AIDS.
As of September 2007, the World Bank’s portfolio in Kenya consisted of 16 active operations with a total commitment of $919 million.
Lets take a further look into complementary facts:
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Kenya’s revenues as of 2007 were $4.448 billion and the Expenditures $5.3777 billion, including capital expenditures. This leaves a glaring deficit of almost a billion US Dollars. How does Kenya go about patching this? One can include the direct budgetary support by the EU. However, from the figures above, it is not sufficient to cover the deficit.
According to the 2007 budget speech,
The overall budget deficit (including grants) in 2007/08 would be KShs.109.8 billion, equivalent to 5.3% of GDP. Overall expenditures in 2007/08, excluding amortization payments and restructuring costs, will amount to Ksh.580.4 billion, about 28.2% of GDP, up from KShs.427.6 billion or 23.4 percent of GDP in 2006/07.
The government based their calculations on a number of factors. They predicted that:
in line with Government policy, there would be a shift of resources from recurrent to capital expenditures and core-poverty programs
the share of recurrent expenditure was projected to decline sharply from the level of 2006/07, while domestically financed capital expenditures were planned to increase from Ksh.54.7 billion to KSh.85.1 billion or from 3.0% of GDP to 4.1% of GDP.
Net external financing amounting to KShs.39.8 billion or 1.9% of GDP, was expected to cover part of this budget deficit
KShs.70 billion or 3.4% of GDP, to be financed through domestic borrowing (Kshs.34 billion) and net privatization receipts of about KShs.36 billion.
Inflation remaining under control
However not to be ignored is the fact (stated in the budgetary report) that this structure above was based on and set against the background of the medium-term macro-fiscal framework and a continuation of the recent strong economic performance, with real GDP expected to increase by 6.5- 7.0% in 2007/08, largely propelled by continued strong performance across all sectors.
With a review of the post-election situation and the loss of revenue that Kenya has undergone and is continuing to undergo, a retardation and even decline of economic growth, one can see an eventuality of a total collapse of the budget. Point five above would even bite more if the sanctions threatened by the EU are carried out. The government is heavily reliant on the world bank and its projects/ programmes. We do not know how far the World Bank would go to carry out these sanctions in review of their seeming tolerance of the government.
The fear that China would fill the gap without preliminary conditions is in our view over-rated. China’s interest in Africa so far has been hunger for natural resources. Looking again into the CIA Fact Book Kenya’s lack of natural resources stand out. And the little that Kenya has, seems to be already under China’s control: In what the East African called cynically a “an unprecedented act of generosity”, the government of Kenya gave the state-owned National Oil Corporation of China – CNOOC – exclusive rights to its hotly contested areas where oil might be found.
If a co-ordinated freeze aid to Kenya campaign is carried out by all donors in the face of the turmoil and violence, I believe the government and opposition will shape up and sit with the mediators to bring an end to the stale-mate that has cost many a Kenyan lives. It is the most effective way and we urge a consideration of this.
When it comes to the root of all evil in Africa, specialist in conspiracy theories, left wing crowds, Marxists, Anti-colonialists, development experts, Bob Geldorf, Bono, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and basically everyone else has one institution in mind: The World Bank.
And if the World Bank was aiming to demolish the rest of credibility they have, they were quite successful in doing so in Kenya. A confidential memo from the World Bank’s Kenya office that supports President Mwai Kibaki’s claim of victory in the country’s disputed elections plunged the Washington-based lender into controversy on Wednesday.
The East-African Standard gave the report as follows:
"World Bank Country Director, Mr Colin Bruce, was a man on the spot as a confidential memo he authored supporting President Kibaki’s re-election kicked off controversy in Nairobi and Washington.
The leaked January 8 briefing note, originating from the World Bank Kenya office, lays out the case for accepting Kibaki’s victory on the basis of "oral briefings and documents from senior UNDP officials" who "monitored the overall electoral process".
The memo, quoted in a story by the Wednesday issue of The Financial Times claims "the considered view of the UN is that the ECK announcement of a Kibaki win was correct".
However, Michele Montas, a spokeswoman for the UN Secretary-General, denied that the UN had adopted that position.
UNDP officials said they had neither monitored the elections nor provided any assessment suggesting a Kibaki victory."
William Wallis, Michael Holman and Krishna Guha summarize the incident as follows:
Mr Bruce’s memo has created discomfort among some senior World Bank staff who fear the bank’s analysis of the Kenyan crisis has been influenced by too close a relationship with Mr Kibaki. Mr Bruce, from Guyana, lives in a house owned by the Kibaki family. The bank said the tenancy was inherited from its previous country representative and was chosen on security grounds.
The World Bank has been criticised for maintaining its large development programme in Kenya in spite of evidence of high-level corruption in Mr Kibaki’s government. The bank says its projects are vital for the country’s poor.”
Former Western Mail journalist Sarah Elderkin yesterday said the following of her unique involvement in the dramatic political events of Kenya that have plunged the country into chaos.
“We have had a poor experience with Mr Kofuor – poor in that he was unable to make any headway at all with self-declared president Mwai Kibaki. “I attended meetings between Kofuor and our Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM) leaders, and so am privy to what happened.
“A document to facilitate mediation had been drawn up at the initiative of Dr Collins Bruce, country director of the World Bank in Kenya, who is well known as a personal friend of Kibaki’s.
“ODM had heard that Kibaki was broadly in agreement with the document and was ready to sign. Then it was suggested by ODM that, because Kofuor was coming, the document be signed publicly and witnessed by the signatures of Kofuor, the UK and US ambassadors and the EU representative.
“After several hours’ final consultation with ODM leaders, Kofuor went off to State House to take the document to Kibaki.
“To Kofuor’s intense embarrassment, Kibaki said he had never heard of the document. He disclaimed all knowledge of Dr Bruce and refused to sign anything. Kibaki had been ready to sign a document he’d later ignore, but signing with international witnesses was a different story.”
Donaldson, a spokesman of WB's Washington headquarters, clarified to Financial Times the memo's intention was to ensure the bank staff were more efficient in presenting the news.
The World Bank's Kenyan loan portfolio is at least $1 billion. It has been criticized for extending loans despite charges of high-level corruption against the Kibaki administration.
The close connection between the World Bank in Washington under the leadership of Robert Zoellick (formerly United States Deputy Secretary of State) to the US government would explain their early acknowledgement of Kibaki by the US State Department. One might assume how great the influence of the World Bank is.
Minister of finance Amos Kimunya exchanges an agreement with Mr. Colin Bruce, the World Bank Country Director
The United States interest in Kenya is vital. Viewed up to now as the most stable East African Country, and having „trouble“ neighbouring countries like Sudan and Somalia, good relations are crucial. Like the the United Kingdom, the US has bilateral Agreements with Kenya and also Military Bases within the country.
It is no surprise that the Bush Administration favoured Kibaki. While Kibaki is considered conservative, Odinga seems to be almost a socialist from the US point of view. A closer look at Odinga’s agenda shows that he has little interest in interfering with the free market. But words like “more social justice” are enough to ring alarm bells in Washington.
The State Department’s early Congratulation to Kibaki’s victory and the almost humiliating withdrawal of the statement and denial of having said that seemed at the first like a big misunderstanding. But that is hard to believe: The United States sent their own election observers and were therefore informed at an early stage about the irregularities of the election. The German Prof. Rolf Hofmeier, Director of the Institut für Afrika-Kunde, interprets the withdrawal as an acknowledgement of the mistakes made in Ethiopia in 2005. After the US accepted the obversely unfree, unfair and undemocratic election, riots broke out all over the country, leading to many deaths, the arrest of journalists and government critics.
The US’ stakes in East Africa are high. If the situation is not solved soon, the people’s demand for free and fair election could spread to the neighbouring countries and lead to a sudden lost of influence. Ethiopia’s President Woldegiorgis, who is fighting “the war on terror” in Somalia, as well as, Uganda’s President Museveni, a member of the “coalition of the willing”, are not eager to introduce models democratic models of power sharing in their countries. How quick the Kenyan conflict can spread can be seen in the
reports of military intervention of Ugandan militia forces in Kenyan Nyanza Region. It should be in the interest of the United States not to hold on to Kibaki, before they lose their influence in the whole region.